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Alive and kicking
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Veronika Decides to Die

Veronika wa Shinu Koto ni Shita
2005 / 105m - Japan
Veronika Decides to Die poster

A fine mix of arthouse and gentle kookiness. I'd expected a more serious drama going in, and it's not as if the film doesn't have any dramatic climaxes, but there's also a lot of time spent exploring the weirder side of its premise. It shares some DNA with Koreeda's After Life, but in the end the films are quite different from each other.

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Veronika is a young woman who can't find any joy in life. She hates her job and her relationships feel empty. She decides to commit suicide, but her attempt fails, and she wakes up in an institution for people just like her. On the verge between life and death, her fellow patients will help her regain the will to live.

I'm a bit surprised I had never heard about this film before. The concept is interesting enough, the performances are solid, and the styling is top-notch. The balance between the lighter elements and the drama isn't quite perfect, and the film does get a little predictable after a while, but fans of Japanese dramas with a slight fantastical edge will find a lot to love here.

The Locker 2

Shibuya Kaidan 2
2004 / 71m - Japan
The Locker 2 poster

The Locker

Sibuya Kaidan
2003 / 71m - Japan
The Locker poster